The last name “Smith” is one of the most commonly recognized across the globe. Those who have it belong to an extensive group of individuals who share bragging rights to one of the world’s most inclusive clubs.
It’s not difficult for a Smith to come across another in their everyday walk, and that theme holds particularly true when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, the ‘Boys currently host four Smith’s (Brandon, Eric, Jaylon, Tyron) under contract. Now, that number is subject to change with final cuts fast approaching, but what remains a permanent fact is this: the Smith surname is alive and well on the Cowboys franchise.
And no Smith has created a stir in recent years that’s been quite comparable to the one incited by Jaylon.
J. Smith rakes in stupendous stipends on a regular basis following the massive five-year, $54 million extension he inked with Dallas back in 2019. He reached the individual pinnacle of success that same season by making his first voyage to Orlando after an ever-coveted Pro Bowl nomination.
His play has seen a consistent downtick in the months following his trip down South though, and it’s left countless fans with painstaking reservations surrounding his ability to contribute to his own defense’s efforts let alone be showered with leaguewide recognition again.
Smith’s ear is keen to all of the noise.
He’s well aware of the drop in defensive production that came as a result of his woes in 2020 (last season was by far his worst according to PFF). He knows how many fans and supporters would love to hear “Hit the road Jack” playing as he makes a final exit egress from the Star. And he knows that this year is a make or break season for his future in D-Town.
But according to Smith, he’s erring on the side of the former.
“Physically I feel great, looking like myself. Doing some amazing things sideline to sideline. I focused on a lot of mobility this offseason and really just amping my game. Each and every year I try to get better. I pride myself on being of value to my team.”
“I think the biggest thing is just full confidence in every move that I make. Being able to make sure I’m aligned correctly, understand what my guys are supposed to do, and really leading in the right direction and making sure everyone knows what they’re doing. That accountability really matters.”
That confidence extends to the rest of his linebacking mates.
“We got so many players that can ball, from rookies to veterans to second, third year players. Everybody in our linebacker room competes at a high level. Knowing that just builds confidence in the entire room. It’s definitely a beautiful thing.”
Although each man in the linebacker’s group is working towards the same goal, they all serve as competition for one another.
Smith’s spot on Dallas’ roster is all but secured as of now, but he’ll be facing a double opposition (one from opposing teams; the other from his own teammates) as he attempts to solidify a long-term seat at the table.
Smith believes he can, and the validity of his faith starts, and ends, with him.